Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #47: Meet the Robinsons

 

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

I never get to say everything I want to say with these things, there’s never enough time. For example, in the Chicken Little review there was actually a lot of fascinating stuff going on between Disney and Pixar that I didn’t  even get to mention because I spent so much time talking about the fan-hate for that film and how I felt it was completely overblown. So, Chicken Little came out around the time when Pixar’s co-production deal with Disney was coming up for renewal and there was a lot riding on it, as whether it was a success or failure would strengthen or weaken Disney’s hand at the negotiating table. A flop would allow Pixar to say “See? You can’t make CGI movies without us, your movies blow chunks.” and a success would allow Disney to say “Nu-uh, our movies are totally boss and everyone says so.”
fight

A typical Disney boardroom negotiation.

Chicken Little was released in 2005 and was a resounding minor success. Critics hated it, but it did do quite well at the box-office. Pixar realised that while Disney’s CGI output might not be ready for primetime, they’d probably be better to have as a friend than as an enemy. And so Disney and Pixar patched things up and decided to stay together for the kids and the billions of box-office and merchandising revenue generated by those kids. Disney acquired Pixar wholesale in 2006, at which point it became very, very difficult to tell where Disney ends and Pixar begins, what’s a Pixar movie and what’s a Disney movie and who exactly is qualified to be  a Disney princess.
Sure. Why not? She wasn’t in a canon Disney film, but why not? Hell, let’s make BUGS BUNNY a Disney Princess, who cares anymore?

Sure. Why not? She wasn’t in a canon Disney film, but why not? Hell, let’s make BUGS BUNNY a Disney Princess, who cares anymore?

Sorry. It’s just been a dark time for people like me who don’t like their fishfingers touching the peas.  Today’s movie, Meet the Robinsons was created right about the time that “Disney” and “Pixar” were becoming “DisneyPixar” (“Dixar”, as the media conglomerate shippers call them) and it really, really, really shows. In every Disney era there is a movie that sums up that whole era perfectly. Pinocchio is the quintessential Tar and Sugar movie, Jungle Book perfectly defines Scratchy Movies and honestly, I kinda feel that Meet the Robinsons is the ultimate Lost Era movie. Not that it’s bad (it’s not). But it is thoroughly weird and constantly searching for a tone. There’s also a wild, “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” style to its comedy, and in fairness to it, a lot of it does indeed stick. It’s a movie that feels more like several little movies strung together rather than a single, cohesive whole. But first a little background.
Meet the Robinsons is loosely based on A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, the infamous Anglo-Irish fascist who, during the second world war broadcast Nazi propaganda from Berlin into British homes as the notorious “Lord Haw Haw”…
"Im sorry..."

“I’m sorry…”

Ah. Different William Joyce. This William Joyce is an American illustrator, children’s author and animator and most definitely not a Nazi. He did write Epic, however, so. Y’know. He’s not Mother Teresa either. He also worked on some really good movies like Toy Story and A Bug’s Life.  Which side of the spectrum does Meet the Robinsons fall on? Let’s take a look.

The movie begins on a rainy night where a mysterious figure leaves a baby on the steps of an orphanege. Flashforward twelve years and the baby has grown up to become Lewis, a bright, blonde haired kid who bears a distinct resemblance to young Jonathan Lipnicki.
lipnicki
Lewis shares a room in the orphanage with another kid called Michael “Goob” Yagoobian, who is honestly one of the most adorable characters I have ever seen.
Awwww...look at that punum!

Awwww…look at that punum!

Lewis is working on an invention to impress a couple who are coming to the orphanage to possibly adopt him. Instead, he almost ends up killing his prospective foster father when his PBJ machine sprays him with peanut butter and sets off his allergy. The orphanage’s administrator, Mildred (Angela Bassett) finds Lewis moping on the roof of the orphanage. He’s depressed because he’s now been rejected by 124 couples. Also, he’s going to turn thirteen soon, leaving only the least superstitious couples as possible adopters. The tone of this movie is all over the place as I previously mentioned, but I will give it this, the adoption stuff really works. You really feel Lewis’ sense of inadequecy and abandonment, and it might have something to with the fact that director Stephen J Anderson is himself an orphan. Lewis angrily says that no one has ever wanted him, not even his own mother. Mildred tells him that he can’t know that and that his mother may well have wanted to keep him but simply couldn’t look after him. This gives Lewis the idea of tracking down his birth mother by creating a device that can retrieve the memories of his mother that were stored in his little baby noggin. To remind everyone, his last invention was  a machine that couldn’t correctly spread peanut butter and jam (yes, I said “jam”, my side of the Atlantic, my rules). And from that, he’s moving on to science-magic capable of unlocking the mysteries of the human brain. Kid’s got moxie, I’ll give him that.

Cue the power of montage as Lewis basically gives up on getting adopted and focuses all his time on building his machine, keeping poor little Goob awake all the time in the process. This montage incidentally is set to Another Believer, by Rufus Wainwright, who did a few different songs for this movie and you know what? It’s my blog and I don’t need to justify putting up a picture of Rufus Wainwright to you people.
Mount me, you reincarnated Romantic era poet, you.

Mount me, you reincarnated Romantic era poet, you.

Mr Willerstein, Lewis’ science teacher, suggests to Lewis that he enter his brain scanner in the school science fair. Jesus. Imagine how the other kid’s feel. You’re a twelve year old who’s worked for weeks on that papier mache volcano and then little Steve Jobs here shows up with the next frontier in neuroscience in his Spider-man schoolbag. More like a School Science Unfair, amirite?
Huh? Get it? A Science Un…
The Science Fair is being judged by Mr Willerstein (Tom Kenny) and the school Coach (Don Hall, trying so, so, so hard to be Patrick Warburton it’s actually a little sad).
No one can BE Patrick Warburton. All we can do is try and live our lives according to his teachings.

No one can BE Patrick Warburton. All we can do is try and live our lives according to his teachings.

The judging panel is rounded out by Lucille Krunlehorm, a scientist from Inventco Labs who’s gamely voiced by Laurie Metcalf. I’d say Metcalf gives probably the best performance in the movie. Unfortunately that’s a pretty low bar to clear. The cast in this, honestly, is pretty lacklustre. Daniel Hansen and Jordan Fry who voice Lewis are both fine (Hansen’s voice broke before production was finished and Fry was brought in to finish up) but there are a LOT of characters in this and quite a few just don’t work in terms of the vocal performance.
Ah Wilbur, we were just talking about you.

Ah Wilbur, we were just talking about you.

Right, so Astro Boy up there is Wilbur Robinson, voiced by Wesley Singerman who is…a very nice young gentleman who is doing his best. In fairness to the guy, his vocal performance is only half the problem. I know it sounds weird to say this about an animated character but Wilbur Robinson is a terrible actor. Just the way that he moves, the gestures he makes, it’s just bad acting. Wilbur approaches Lewis and asks him if he’s been approached by a man in a bowler hat and claims to be from the future.  Wilbur tells Lewis to just carry on with the science project while he looks for the Bowler Hat Guy. Man, I’m conflicted about Bowler Hat Guy. Okay, remember when I was talking about the merger between Disney and Pixar? So, as a result of that John Lasseter became the head of Disney feature animation and this was the first Disney movie made under his stewardship. Lasseter’s main contribution was in overhauling the design of Bowler Hat Guy…and damn.
BHG

Look at that mustachioed bastard.

I LOVE this design. I’m a sucker for diabolically evil characters and every hair, every every tooth, every mad staring eyeball on this guy just screams VILLAINY. And the movement is just as good, BHG moves like a human daddy long legs, you almost expect to hear piano-forte in the background like your watching an old silent movie. Visually, the character works like gangbusters. But again, it’s the vocal end that trips it up. Now, BHG is voiced by Stephen Anderson, the director. And for a guy who doesn’t do voice acting for a living it’s certainly not a terrible performance. He’s got good comic timing and he makes the funny lines land. But Anderson’s voice is just a little too booming for such a pencil thin character. The role was actually offered to Jim Carey, and if you’ve seen A Series of Unfortunate Events you’ll know just how awesome he could have been in this part. Selflessly, Carey turned down the role so that he could warn us all about how the number twenty three is going to murder us all or something.

Yes. That's a real movie. Yes. That is what's actually about. Yes. The guy is nuts.

Yes. That’s a real movie. Yes. That is what it’s actually about. Yes. The guy is nuts.

So Bowler Hat Guy is so called because he wears a sentient robot bowler hat called “Doris”. Doris secretly flies into Lewis’ machine and sabotages it, causing it to catch fire when Lewis turns it on to demonstrate it to the judges. This causes the sprinklers to turn on and the science fair has to be abandoned. Lewis runs home, devastated and the Bowler Hat guy and Doris make off with the abandoned brain scanner.
Back on the roof of the orphanege, Wilbur tries to convince Lewis to go back and fix the machine but Lewis tells him to screw off, saying he doesn’t believe he’s from the future. Wilbur then proves he;s from the future in the most idiotic way possible, by pushing him off the roof so that he lands on Wilbur’s invisible time machine which breaks his fall.
Wilbur is an idiot
So, a few points.
1) That fall was still absolutely far enough to seriously injure or even kill Lewis depending on how he landed.
2) Considering how small the time machine is Lewis could very easily missed and hit the ground because…
3) It’s FUCKING INVISIBLE and Wilbur had to rely on memory alone to know where the time machine actually was which is hardly a comforting thought when you remember that…
4) Wilbur’s brains consist mostly of macaroni and glitter.
Anyway, Wilbur takes Lewis to the future and the future is AWESOME. The future city is just a big bright, technological utopia with no pollution or ocean dumpage and everyone travels in tubes!
THE D WAS RIGHT!!

THE D WAS RIGHT!!

Having convinced Lewis that he really is from the future, Wilbur says that they have to go back to the science fair so that Lewis can fix his memory scanner. Lewis asks what’s the point of that when he can just use the time machine to go back and meet his mother?

Good for you Lewis, that’s using the old noodle.
Wilbur freaks out at the suggestion and says that they can’t risk disrupting the timeline and oh god, he’s one of THOSE people. You know the kind, always going on about preserving the timeline and not changing history. Loosen up, for God’s sake, a little tampering with history never hurt anyone, right Robo-Tutankhamun?
"AFFIRMATIVE MY GOOD CHUM."

“AFFIRMATIVE MY GOOD CHUM.”

The two boys scuffle and end up crashing the time machine. This is a problem, because there are only two in all of existence and BHG has the other one. Wilbur tells Lewis that he has to fix the time machine and Lewis agrees to at least try provided that Wilbur then takes him back to see his mother Wilbur agrees. They smuggle the totalled time machine into Wilbur’s garage where Lewis meets Carl, a golden, panicky, effeminate robot…

I

I’d say “Disney, you whores!” but they own him now.

Carl freaks out when he sees Lewis, and Wilbur slaps a hat on him, saying that his blonde hair is a dead giveaway because apparently there are no blondes in the future. Wilbur runs after Carl and tells Lewis to stay in the basement but Lewis gets sucked up a random tube and gets lost in the Robinsons’ mansion and oh sweet Jesus in heaven NO!!

Fu...

Fu…

Fu...

Fu…

FU...

FU…

ARGH! PUPPET!

ARGH! PUPPET!

Bahia 6

FU…

FUTURE BAHIA!!!

FUTURE BAHIA!!!

So, in the course of around two minutes, this movie introduces a jawdropping FIFTEEN new characters as Wilbur meets each of the Robinsons in turn. And their giant squid because why not? I know a lot of these characters are based on William Joyce’s own relatives, that they were in the original book and that in fact there are a lot more in the book that were cut from the movie. So I can understand that they were unwilling to cut any more characters. But, on the other hand (and try and follow my reasoning here) THIS MOVIE INTRODUCES FIFTEEN NEW CHARACTER HALFWAY THROUGH THE MOVIE AND THAT IS GODDAMN INSANE!
This reaches its natural peak of absurdity when Wilbur finds Lewis, corners him in the broom closet and basically gives him a POP QUIZ ON THE ROBINSON FAMILY TREE JUST SO THE AUDIENCE CAN BE REMINDED ABOUT WHO IS RELATED TO WHO. And so many of these characters could have been excised. Look, I’m as big a fan of Adam West as anyone, including members of his immediate family, but his Uncle Art character adds nothing to the story. The only characters you really need are Frannie (Wilbur’s mother who trains singing frogs), Bud and Lucille (Wilbur’s grandparents) and Cornelius (Wilbur’s dad, thus far unseen but described by Wilbur as looking like Tom Selleck).
Unshaved Mouse. Come for the reviews, stay for the pictures of hot, smouldering hunks.

Unshaved Mouse. Come for the reviews, stay for the pictures of hot, smouldering hunks.

Meanwhile, back in the present, things aren’t going so good for BHG and Doris. The BHG tries to pass off the memory scanner as his own invention to the board of a big tech company, but since he can’t even turn the thing on he gets thrown out and the machine gets smashed. Deciding that he needs Lewis to repair it, BHG and Doris break into the orphanege and instead find Goob. Goob has had his chubby little cheeks beaten by the other kids on his base ball team. See, because Lewis was keeping him up all night, Goob fell asleep on the base ball field and was not able to catch the base ball with the base ball catching leather scoop and so his team did not win base ball. Goob sits on his bed, nursing his black eye with a steak and saying stuff like “Mr Steak? You’re my only friend.”

  sad bhg
Yeah, even BHG’s blackened heart can’t help but be moved by Goob’s story. Goob says his coach told him to let it go and BHG yells:
“No! Everyone will tell you to let it go and move on, but don’t! Instead, let it fester and boil inside of you! Take these feelings and lock them away. Let them fuel your actions. Let hate be your ally, and you will be capable of wonderful, horrid things. Heed my words,don’t let it go!”
Well, that would have been a much more depressing song, wouldnt it?

“Hey! He’s right! I’LL KILL THEM ALL!”

On the roof of the orphanege Doris finds traces of timey wimey and realises that Wibur has taken Lewis to the future and so the two set off in their stolen time machine.

In the future, Lewis is struggling to fix the time machine but can’t because, y’know, he’s twelve. Wilbur tells him to “Keep moving forward”, explaining that it’s the Robinson family motto. He says that his father basically created all the future technology that Lewis has seen, and gives him a tour of the house, including a small scale replica of the stolen time machine.

"What is this?! A TIME MACHINE FOR ANTS!?!"

“What is this?! A TIME MACHINE FOR ANTS!?!”

Lewis stays for dinner with the Robinsons while in the garden, the BHG and Doris arrive in their cloaked time machine. Doris shits out a little mini-Doris that BHG can control remotely and they both start to case the area. To give Lewis a confidence boost Wilbur asks him to fix the family’s PBG machine but Lewis screws it up and sprays peanut butter and jam (COME AT ME BRO!) everywhere. But instead of being upset, the family are ecstatic because failure is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. I can respect the sentiment, I guess, but I’ve just realised we’ve seen Lewis successfully invent or repair exactly zero machines throughout the course of this movie. I mean, like, dude. Do you even science?
Alright, so while piloting Mini-Doris , BHG sees Frannie’s singing frogs, who wear finely tailored suits and speak with Italian American accents because…
CocaineHe uses Mini-Doris to take control of the brain of Frankie, the head frog and orders him to kidnap Lewis. But Frankie, despite being mind-controlled, has to point out that he’s a five inch tall frog and that he’s not sure this plan was thought through. BHG realises that he’s going to need a bigger minion, so uses the time machine to go back and get…
Oh yes…
A MUTHAFUCKIN’ T-REX!!!
This leads to hands down the funniest bit in the whole movie as the T-Rex corners Lewis but can’t reach him because of his tiny arms, and then apologetically tells BHG in his sad dinosaur voice that he doesn’t think this plan was thought through. Wilbur sees that the T-Rex is being controlled by Mini-Doris and Lewis and Wilbur manage to knock the hat off, freeing the T-Rex from BHG’s control. Mini-Doris then gets dragged off by Frankie’s frog buddies and thrown in the boot of their tiny car, because this script was written via a game of Mad Libs.
You know what happens to someone who crosses the frog mafia? He croaks.

You know what happens to someone who crosses the frog mafia? He croaks.

Did I…

Did I really just make that joke?
Anyway, the Robinsons are so happy that Lewis is alright that Frannie offers to adopt him and Lewis joyfully says yes. Wilbur, realising that things have gone too far, takes off Lewis’ hat, revealing his blond haystack to the shocked Robinsons. Frannie says that she’s really sorry, but that Lewis has to go home. Like, NOW. Lewis is heart-broken, but begs that Wilbur at least take him back in time to see his mother like he promised. Frannie is furious with Wilbur, but he says that he was never actually going to do it and Lewis storms off. So, Lewis is pissed at Wilbur, the family is pissed at Wilbur, and the T-Rex is presumably slowly suffocating because of the much lower oxygen content in the atmosphere in this time period. So everyone’s having kind of a pisser, basically.
Alone in the garden, Lewis overhears the Bowler Hat Guy talking to Doris, saying how awfully he’s been treated.
"Poor child. Poor sweet child."

“Poor child. Poor sweet child.”

Bowler Hat Guy offers Lewis a deal, repair the memory scanner, and in return he’ll take him back to meet his mother. Lewis agrees, and BHG takes him to his lair, a crumbling, decaying building in the heart of the metropolis. Lewis fixes the machine and then BHG double crosses him, surprising absolutely no one. BHG reveals that he’s got a lifelong vendetta against Cornelius Robinson. Lewis asks what’s that got to do with him and finally realises that HE is the mysterious patriarch of the family Robinson. This naturally causes conflicting emotions in Lewis. On the one hand, he’s going to have to RAISE that dumbass Wilbur one day. On the bright side though?

Yeah, were calling that a win.

Yeah, we’re calling that a win.

Then Bowler Hat Guy drops the other bombshell, he’s Goob! After losing the base ball game (and probably helped by that little “embrace the dark side” pep talk from his future self) Goob became a bitter, hate filled pariah, living in the abandoned ruins of the orphanege and plotting his revenge on Lewis. That’s when he encountered Doris, who’d escaped from Lewis’ lab after proving to be pure evil. To clarify. He wanted to make a robot hat to brush people’s teeth and straighten their bowties, and instead created an insane machine with dreams of global domination. Jesus, no wonder his motto is “Keep Moving Forward”, if he looked over his shoulder all he’d see would be the trail of bodies and devastation left in the wake of his constant, catastrophic failure!

Carl and Wilbur manage to rescue Lewis but BHG and Doris escape into the past with the memory scanner and Lewis watches as the timeline begins to change around him. Wilbur disappears into a time vortex and Lewis ryuns into the now abandoned and darkened Robinson family mansion. He turns on an exposition machine and sees what happened. BHG sold the memory scanner to a big tech company and then used his clout to get them to mass produce a whole race of Doris’ who proceeded to conquer the world. The movie now takes a serious turn to the darkside as Lewis is attacked by the mind-controlled humans wearing bowler hats. It’s…it’s actually a lot scarier than I’m making it sound.
Now that is one dapper zombie apocalypse.

Now that is one dapper zombie apocalypse.

Lewis takes shelter in the broken time machine and finally manages to get it working. He flies the time machine outside and sees that the bright future utopia that he created has been replaced by a twisted industrial hellscape where the entire human population is enslaved by fancy, fancy, hats.
"Wait a minute..."

“Wait a minute…”

 Lewis asks himself why he ever built Doris in the first place and then has an idea.
"Wait a minute!"

“Wait a minute!”

He travels back in time to just before BHG hands over the memory scanner and tells him that Doris is just using him for her own nefarious ends. Doris attacks him but Lewis defeats her by simply saying “I am NEVER going to invent you.”, causing her to instantly vanish.
"WAIT JUST ONE BLOOD SUCKING MINUTE HERE!"

“WAIT JUST ONE BLOOD SUCKING MINUTE HERE!”

Nit. Forget it. Don’t even bother.
"BUT THAT DOESNT MAKE ANY SENSE!"

“BUT THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!”

I know it doesn’t. But here’s the thing. NO time travel story makes sense. At least, no time travel story that involves going back in time and changing history makes sense. You’ve probably already spotted the big plot hole in this resolution. Saying “I am never going to invent you” shouldn’t do anything because if he’s already DECIDED never to invent her then she should already have vanished. In fact, it shouldn’t even matter. By changing history so that she conquers the world in the past, Doris has erased the timeline where Lewis created her, ergo she shouldn’t exist at all. Few time travel movies hide this plot hole as poorly as Meet the Robinsons but they pretty much all do it, even the really, really good ones. Think of Back to the Future. By changing the circumstances of his parents meeting, Marty McFly threatens to erase himself and his siblings from history. But if he’s gone, then he never travelled back in time in the first place so the problem never arose. And this is a problem with any fiction that involves changing history, it always results in the time traveller’s future being changed so that they never go back in time in the first place. Weirdly, one of the few time travel stories to avoid this problem was one of the very first ones, Wells’ The Time Machine, which simply had its protagonist travel into the future and leave his own timeline untouched. My point is, I’m not going to come down too hard on Meet the Robinsons for such a glaringly illogical ending because a) They all do it and b) I have almost gone insane trying to resolve the exact same problem in my own time travel story (we’ll get to that soon enough).
Anyway, Lewis travels back to the future with BHG so that he can see the damage Doris wrought before the timeline fixes itself while they both watch.
"I…I…I…Mouse, I think I’m having a stroke. Everything smells like Tuesday."

“I…I…I…Mouse, I think I’m having a stroke. Everything smells like Tuesday.”

Lewis is reunited with the Robinsons who thank him for saving all of reality and we finally get to see Cornelius Robinson. Okay, so we now know that Cornelius is actually Lewis’ future self so he probably doesn’t look like Tom Selleck. Since Young Lewis looks like young Jonathan Lipnicki, that means that adult Lewis must look like adult Jonathan Lipnicki right? Wrong.
Sometimes the genes zig, sometimes they zag.

Sometimes the genes zig, sometimes they zag.

Cornelius (Tom Selleck, ha, I see what they did there) takes Lewis on a tour of his workshop and explains that demonstrating the memory scanner at the science fair was the big breakthrough that changed his life forever. Lewis says that he should probably go back and do that but Cornelius says that that’s up to him and that his future’s not set in stone. And he’s being awfully calm for a guy who’s entire existence and the existence of his family is dependent on the decisions of this twelve year old boy. If I was him I’d be like “YES! YES YOU SHOULD! IN FACT, IF YOU DON’T THE TIMELINE WILL RUPTURE AND WEIRD PTERODACTYL THINGS WILL APPEAR AND KILL EVERYONE!
This was Doctor Who’s way of resolving the problem of changing the timeline. It’s a weird show.

This was Doctor Who’s way of resolving the problem of changing the timeline. It’s a weird show.

Lewis says his goodbyes and Wilbur flies off with him in the time machine. But before leaving him back at the science fair, Wilbur stays true to his world and shows Lewis the night his mother left him on the doorstep of the orphanege.
Meet-the-robinsons-disneyscreencaps.com-42
Lewis goes to speak with her but at the least minute, he backs away, deciding that she’s not his real family and that he needs to look to the future, not the past. Lewis gets back into the time machine and leaves, without ever seeing what his mother actually looked like.
Probably for the best.

Probably for the best.

Back in the present Lewis races back to the school gym with the memory scanner, stopping at the base ball court to wake up Goob so that he can catch the base ball and score one base ball.
And everyone is happy. Because they have won base ball today.

And everyone is happy. Because they have won base ball today.

Having cunningly and ruthlessly erased his arch nemesis from history, Lewis pleads with the judges to be allowed one more chance to demonstrate the machine. Lucille offers to be his guinea big and Lewis uses the memory scanner to display Lucille’s happiest memory; her wedding day. To Bud. See, it turns out that Lucille is actually Lucy, Wilbur’s Grandmother. Bud and Lucille take an instant liking to Lewis, but say that he looks more like a “Cornelius” and adopt him. And I gotta say, apart from how weird it is that they changed his name once they adopted him, the scenes of Lewis moving into his new home with his new loving family are genuinely very sweet. The movie ends with Lewis planning to build a wonderful future, and fades to a title screen of an actual real life quote from Walt Disney himself, explaining where “Keep Moving Forward” came from.
Quote
Words to live by.
***
This movie is basically the entire Lost Era crammed into one film. At points it’s sweet and heartfelt like Lilo and Stitch, wild and cartoony like Emperor’s New Groove or weird and kinda bad like Home on the RangeIt never knows what it wants to be or what it should be doing and so it tries to everything. Having said that, there’s actually quite a lot to recommend it. It’s visually appealing, some of the comedy really works, the central protagonist is likeable and it is most certainly never boring.  It sums up the whole aesthetic of this era of the Disney canon, always experimenting, always trying new things, and always moving forward.
Animation: 13/20
Definitely starting to get the hang of this CGI thing
Lead: 14/20
Ah, he’s a good kid.
Villain: 13/20
Doris has a few genuinely creepy moments, and you can’t fault her for ambition but she doesn’t really have much of a personality.
Supporting Characters: 06/20
Too…damn…many…
Music: 12/20
Solid. Nothing spectacular.
FINAL SCORE: 58%
NEXT UPDATE: 22 May 2014
NEXT TIME: In a special joint review, Mouse and Erik “Voice of Mouse” Copper will be taking a look at Enchanted. Erik loves it. Mouse hates it. Two reviewers will enter, but only one shall leave!
Neil Sharpson aka The Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, blogger and comic book writer living in Dublin. The blog updates with a new animated movie review every second Thursday. He’s also serialising his novel The Hangman’s Daughter with a new chapter every other Thursday.

140 comments

  1. Great review, unshavedmouse!

    I love this movie as it’s quite touching, but as you’ve mentioned, it does have many problems!

    Also, I totally agree with you in your ire that Merida is considered a Disney Princess. I like my Disney Canon on one side and my Pixar on another side.

    Also lol@your frog mafia-croak joke! That’s probably my 3rd favorite joke of yours after your “fish with bad breath” joke from ‘Brother Bear’ and your “you idiots, we all _____________” running gag from ‘Aladdin’ and others after it.

    Btw, is there a reason that some of your numbers in your rating section are colored blue? Or is my computer just funky?

    1. I still try to forget that Merida is a Disney Princess. It goes against everything the movie and her character is about. Pixar and WDAS are almost indistinguishable now.

      1. Eh it’s okay. Other than being a Pixar creation, I don’t see how it goes against Merida and Brave. The majority of the Disney Princesses are not as repressed as most like to believe. I mean, it already had Mulan before Merida, who’s a million times more bad ass!

  2. I agree with you on time travel: it never makes sense. I believe it’s frustratingly fun to learn about. So many different interpretations of it: grandfather paradox, alternate universes, etc.

    Enchanted, huh? Never saw it before. Better take a look before your review of it goes up. Care to warn me about anything about it before I do? No major spoilers, if you please.

    The good news for you is the rest of the movies in the Disney canon from this point forward should be smooth sailing.

    1. Yea, a Disney movie set in real life.

      Please remove your sanity and store in a safe place.

      Also, please purchase selective hearing headphones that remove from the audible spectrum bad puns.

      That is all.

      1. Duly noted, Inala. Thank you.

        UnshavedMouse, care to add anything to that, or has Inala pretty much summed up everything I need to know and do?

        Also, humor me, guys. Is there anybody out there that LIKES this movie? If so, is there anything genuinely good about it? And no “Yeah, it’s good. Good to make me stay away from it and warn everyone” kind of responses, please. And again, no spoilers, if I may ask.

      2. I’ve watched it. The theme in the movie is pretty much ripped off in Frozen, with the exception of the Prince twist, where the Prince and the maiden find that they don’t love each other.

        Other than that, there is some good comedy, about how cartoons would interact in real life. Also, there is a meme running around from Tangled about Flynn Rider being the first guy in Disney to question why everyone is randomly singing, that actually goes to Robert, when Giselle gets everyone in the park to sing.

        It’s a great movie, loved it myself, but the puns, I warn you now, it has puns coming out of every movie orifice you can name.

      3. So, wait, you first tell me to “remove my sanity and store it in a safe place” and then say it’s a great movie? Um, okay. So is the only bad part of the movie the puns? Is that what you’re saying? A good movie littered with bad puns? Is that really it’s only problem?

      4. I personally loved the film. Lots of people did after all, being a box office success and gained positive reviews.
        What’s good about it? Lots and LOTS of Disney Princess references. U can literally spot more than 5. And the ending was really clever in my opinion. And the relationship was very well-developed. And its hilarious lol. I laughed so hard at it. And aldo, the songs r really really good. The acting are really good as well. I can’t find a single flaw in this film lol.

      5. I think Frozen was a far superior deconstruction of the Disney Princess and fairytale tropes than Enchanted. While Frozen teases the out of touch tropes, Enchanted downright insults most of them. And worst of all, despite pretending to be the ultimate anti-princess film, Enchanted ends up adopting the same old formula for the end.

        Frozen meanwhile manages to successfully break the formula and subvert all expectations without even trying half as hard as Enchanted. Also, the songs in Enchanted are varying levels of mediocre. And it made the irredeemable sin of featuring Idina Menzel in a musical.. and NOT letting her sing! *GASP*

        James Marsden was amazing though! 🙂

      6. “I think Frozen was a far superior deconstruction of the Disney Princess and fairytale tropes than Enchanted. While Frozen teases the out of touch tropes, Enchanted downright insults most of them.”

        I have the opposite impression: I honestly thought Frozen’s mocking of the Love At First Sight trope in particular was downright obnoxious at times, in a “Yes, movie, you can’t marry someone you just met, WE FRIGGING GET IT” kind of way. (Actually most of my issues with Frozen–and mind you, I do like this movie–stem from how thickly they laid everything on, from the morals to the metaphors. The rest of my issues have to do with some of the lyrics, because in spots they really are cringeworthy. Yes, even in “Let It Go”.)

  3. It’s actually pretty common when adopted to have your name changed. Most adopted kids, once they reach 18, usually pick their own name for the rest of their life, including their last name. Ever wonder why some people have screwy names?

    To be honest, like most of these lost era movies, I didn’t like the style, but thought that Brave was awesome. Which is kind of weird to go see an animated movie when your 17.

      1. Also, it is not at all weird to go see an animated movie when your 17. I went and saw Frozen by myself last November and I’m a 20 year old guy. And come late June I will go see How To Train Your Dragon 2, probably by myself, on opening night as a 21 year old guy. No shame.

      2. No, if an adoptive parent doesn’t like the child’s name, they can change it, though most of the time they leave it alone. The last one is usually changed every time a child is adopted, taking the foster parents last name. Also, a birth certificate may be changed to reflect this.

        I knew a teacher nearby who adopted some girls, and she had their names changed when she adopted them. My own name is changed from repeated adoptions. Don’t think it doesn’t happen.

      3. Oh good. I thought I was weird because I still watch the animated movies more than real movies. I’m just not a fan of the swearing and blood and gore that gets shown too much anymore. Yuck.

      4. Ha, that’s nothing! I’ve seen plenty of animated movies by myself. As a 21 year old, I saw The Croods, Turbo, Despicable Me 2, Frozen and The Lego Movie by myself. And I’m probably going to see Dragons 2, Big Hero 6 and whatever else by myself, provided I don’t find someone who I wanna go to movies with all the time.

      5. We’re still embarrassed about the animation age ghetto thing? Seriously?
        I have an even weirder problem, Inala: I often find it easier to empathise with cartoons than with live-action characters. I think it’s because it’s hard not to be aware of the actor as a real person, and where else I’ve seen them, whereas animation creates a more world more fully removed from reality.
        Lobo, there will be plenty of other solitary twentysomethings, including me, going to see HTTYD2 on opening night. You won’t be truly alone.
        (Speaking of which, did they give Hiccup the Matthew Lewis treatment or what? Because, I mean, day-um, that is some mighty fine character design…)

      6. Cartoons are designed with exaggerated facial features to make them more appealing and empathizable (he said inventing a word) than actual human faces. It’s science!

      7. I’m not embarrassed and I’m telling Inala that they shouldn’t be embarrassed to go see animated movies either.

  4. I agree that the movie is weird and cringe worthy sometimes. But I can’t fault the movie for having plenty of that old Disney heart. And the ending of this movie is probably one of my favorite endings in a canon film. The Walt Disney quote actually took me by surprise. It’s kind of like Disney itself is saying to move on and forget their failures of the past couple of years.

    Btw, you should mention the greatest movie ever, Back to the Future, more often on your blog.

    1. Back to the Future is the greatest movie ever? Ah, you’re one of my guys! That trilogy it’s unique and wonderful and has my favourite fictional relationship in between two friends. Everytime I see BTTF I feel really good and I forget all of my problems xD

      1. I thought BTTF 2 was by far the weakest of the three. Original is the best and 3 is awesome because OLD WEST and FLYING TRAIN TIME MACHINE. 2 is just kind of meh, nothing really happens that’s all that interesting. And some of the makeup and effects are just terrifying

      2. I agree with Lobo that Part 2 is the weakest. I don’t know why, maybe because it’s the least memorable to me. The first is still the best, and one of my favorite movies.
        (Fun story: I was spending time with family in Iowa last summer, and I think it was around the 4th of July that one channel was playing all 3 movies back to back. Stayed for most of it like a lazy bastard. Ironic that my aunt whom I was staying with had the first movie on VHS!)

      3. BTTF 2 is my least favorite of the trilogy — although I do still love the line about the Cubs winning against Florida. Not a baseball fan but something about that cracks me up.

        BTW, 2015 is 7 months away and I’m still waiting impatiently for my flying car and hoverboard! 🙂

      4. BTTF is my favorite movie trilogy ever, and I can’t really say I like one over the other three because, well, they’re a trilogy, and they all compliment each others weaknesses and strengths well. It’s just such a fun, exciting, and over-all enjoyable movie with a fun (if time-travel confusing) plot and great characters.

      5. Yeah, I don’t understand how you can put the BTTF trilogy ahead of LotR, Toy Story, or The Godfather. BTTF has one truly great movie (the first one), one really fun one (the third), and one meh (the second). All three LotR and Toy Story films are incredible and the first two Godfather films are considered among the greatest movies ever made

      6. Battle of opinions! I’m with you mouse, I think the 2nd movie it’s best in quality and quantity of the trilogy (I mean, it has the future, the alternative timeline and 1985, what else do you want!?), the only thing that I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t have The Power Of Love song, really disappointing 😦 . But the first one has a spot in my heart (and it’s the only one that I watched in the correct order) and (thanks to Clara) the third one isn’t as good as the rest (but I still love it). I’m with orangeoctopi too, this is my favourite movie trilogy (with the first movie being my favourite one) but I still love the LOTR movies including the books and the films, and I love the Toy Story trilogy as well (but I think the third movie was kinda overrated). And… I have something to confess that… I didn’t see any of The Godfather films. I know, I know, it’s a sin, but that’s what it is and I may watch them one day…

      7. Oh well, comparing the Toy Story and Lord of the Rings Trilogies… you really CAN’T compare them… I admit, I’m usually exaggerating when I say something is my favorite X ever. I’ve never seen the Godfather, I don’t like violent movies.

      8. My favorite BTTF movies are in order 1, 3, 2. I just enjoyed 1 and 3 more than 2. 2 does however have the best line in the series “There is something familiar about all of this.”

      9. Hoverboard, flying DeLorean, Old Biff, Evil Biff, Alternate Hill Valley, Grey’s. Sports. Almanac. (dun dun dun dun) you are all wrong. All of you.

      10. What about me? I said the same thing, the second movie has more stuff into it than the other ones!

  5. Nice review again!
    Love the “Let it Go” joke! (Side note: ever heard “Let ’em Burn”? If you haven’t, here’s the link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5GRUPNXbflQ)
    I have a soft spot for this movie. It has issues, but it is a heart warming story and the message is strong.
    I also noticed the blue numbers in the scoring section.
    So “Enchanted” is next? I’m disappointed that you hate it, because I like it OK. It’s cheesy, but entertainingly cheesy.
    Doing great work; can’t wait to finish the canon! Keep moving forward!

  6. Fun fact, although the version of “Hallelujah” that is used in the movie Shrek is sung by John Cale, it is actually a version performed by Rufus Wainwright that appears on the soundtrack. NOW YOU KNOW.

    I haven’t actually seen this whole movie but I’ve enjoyed what I have seen. I loved the book it’s based on when I was a kid, it was just so wild and crazy and creative. The T-Rex is legitimately hilarious, probably the best “T-Rex’s have small arms” joke I’ve ever seen.

    I have to ask two things, Mouse. First, do you understand ANYTHING about baseball? You’re really alienating a large portion of readers by understanding the sport so poorly. Second, who exactly is Erik “Voice of Mouse” Copper? Am I missing something here?

    1. Mouse’s explanation of baseball works just fine for this sports-averse Antipodean. Hell, when I turn on the footy channel, all I hear is: “Beautiful footy from Footy McFooty – he footies it to Footingly – Footyworth taking the kick – And they’ve done it again, Eddie! Another footy for The Mighty Footies!”

  7. Always wondered why the movie version sounded different of Hallelujah. Also loved the “Let It Go” part. too.

    And yes, I have watched “Let It Burn,” she tries, but she doesn’t have the range of Idina Menzel which kind of ruins it for me. I myself can’t hit that last note for “on”.

    On to other things, Erik “Voice of Mouse” Copper is the man responsible for putting the voice to the Mouse reviews, as the Mouse himself is an unintelligible Irish mouse. The Mouse himself brought this up once in an editorial once, about his origins.

  8. I found Goob to be a funny an dfrightening villain and a touching victim. I think he was the film’s strength. I am surprised there was no mention of his egging the house scheme. “My plan was brilliant.” (holds up eggs)
    “But, Doris’s plan was good too.” (no promise the quotes are exact.

  9. First of all: Has anyone else noticed how Franny looks pretty much like Chicha on a bad hair day?
    Second of all: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0396555/alternateversions <– Probably one of the most interesting aspects of this movie.
    Third of all: OH MY GOD I FORGOT YOU WERE GOING TO REVIEW ENCHANTED! …What's a that? A joint review?
    Neil, you're a wonderful human being. Just for those two things.
    Fourth of all: Neil…everyone's reacted to the confirmed main cast of Episode VII except for you. You should fix that! (even if it's just to say "The cast doesn't really tell me if the movie's going to be good or not")

  10. I enjoy this movie, but one thing is really odd about it, and it’s not the time paradox stuff (I can live with that). It’s that Lewis contemplates and almost gets adopted by the woman who would later become his wife. And whom he would have a kid with.

    That would confuse the crap outta me if I was in his shoes, especially if he found her attractive even when they first met (her adult form, anyway.)

  11. Hey Mouse. I feel like it has been a long time since I have been here.

    About the film, I pretty much forgot so much about it because it is that forgettable. What I do remember is that it tries to have heart, but there is so many obnoxious things in it, that it ruins the film. I still don’t remember everything about it, but your review did help. I do not like Wilbur either.

    I really need to watch Enchanted.

    I have a question for you. When do you think the “Resurgence/Revival Era” of WDAS (we are in right now) started? Bolt? Princess and the Frog? Tangled? Frozen? Or are we still in the Post Renaissance Era?

    1. I’d probably say that if Bolt isn’t the start of the Resurgence/Revival Era (I’m going to call it Revival Era), then Princess and the Frog is. I myself think Bolt belongs in the Revival Era rather than the Lost Era.

      I’m going to watch Enchanted as well, but above I was told that it has a lot of bad puns, so watch out for those.

      1. I thought it was PatF as well, but it did not make the money to……revive anything.

        I really do not like puns. Maybe we should plan a day when us both would watch it.

      2. I don’t know when that would be, as there are other movies I’d like to see and I’m working a lot. I guess the best thing would be to watch it before Mouse posts his review and then share what we think about it then.

    2. I had this EXACT conversation just a while ago with a friend. Frog, Bolt and Tangled all have a claim but I’m going to give it to Tangled because I seem to remember it being a much bigger deal than the other two.

      1. Tangled is the movie most people can get behind as the one that set off this new, beautiful Revival Era. Also, I have seen people make slightly stretched parallels between movies from this era and movies from the Renaissance Era in this manner.

        Tangled = The Little Mermaid
        Wreck It-Ralph = The Rescuers Down Under
        Frozen = Beauty and the Beast
        Big Hero 6 = Aladdin(?)

        Obviously such Renaissance parallelists forget the existence of the 2011 Winnie the Pooh movie. :p

      2. Well, it is a popular topic as to when this era started. While I would have loved for PatF to kick start things off, it was no a big deal while Tangled was.

      3. @Petulant, yeah, I made one of those parallel blog posts, but I compared Frozen to Lion King, for them being seen as the Magnum Opus to the general public. I do not think Tangled would have done as well if they had not changed the marketing.

      4. I have heard of Tangled and bolt getting most getting the claim, and another blogger I follow gave a nomination to “Meet the Robinsons” saying it is what got the revival direction started.

      5. More of a reply to Petulant Street Rat. I would rank them like this
        Up-An American Tail
        Toy Story 3-The Land BeforeTime
        I am givig Pixar the place of Don Bluth for showing that animated flms could still be extremely profitable and making in my opinion better movies than Disney (I have always been more of a Bluth and Pixar fan han the disney cannon)
        Princess and the Frog- Little Mermaid
        Tangled-Beauty and the Beast
        Winnie the Pooh- seems like the reaction and box-office performance make it the perfect Rescuers Down Under
        Wreck-it-Ralph-Toy Story
        Frozen-Lion King
        I think Big Hero 6 will be Aladin
        Paranorman-All Dogs Go to Heaven

      6. Why do we feel the need to try and make connections between these films like this? Disney movies are Disney movies and Pixar movies are Pixar movies and Bluth movies are Blulth movies. Their progressions and such have nothing to do with each other. It’s not really even worth trying to make connections between the current run of good Disney movies and the Renaissance films of the 90’s. It’s not like because it’s following kind of the same pattern as the Renaissance, the new group of Disney movies will all be good. Big Hero 6 could absolutely suck for all we know. I just don’t see the point in trying to make connections between the two eras

      7. Little Mermaid=Pocohantas (spirited not smart)
        Beauty and the Beast=Hunchback of Notre Dame (smart with heart)
        Aladdin=Hercules (we’re hip to the jive! And they started the one word titles)
        Lion King=Mulan (big and epic)
        And I guess for me Rescuers Down Under=Tarzan (atypical for Disney adventure)

  12. Quick, everyone – how can we make Robo-Tutankhamen an everyday idiom?
    I like this movie. It’s not perfect, there are some really daggy and baffling elements (Japanese dubbed food f-… dinner table war??), but it’s fun and quotable. My brother has been doing spot-on, hilarious Bowler Hat Guy impressions since the age of six – maybe that explains my soft spot for it.
    Never stop the baseball jokes. Sorry, America, but it’s difficult enough trying to understand one’s own national pastimes. (What’s that, AFL? The ball has to go through the tall sticks, but you get a point if you miss?)
    And I’m really glad The Time Machine got a mention! HG Wells is the man.
    By the way, these reviews are in top form lately.

    1. Oh thank you kindly! I really thought this one was going to suck actually. Lack of sleep/stress preparing for driving test/touch of the blues is not a fun axis to contend with.

  13. Great review! Agreed with most of the things u said lol.
    After Chicken Little, the animation did get a lot better.
    And I’m still mad at howerida became a Disney Princess. She should have her own franchise like Toy Story did, not lump her together with the WDAS princesses……. And all those backlash.

    Question: which movie do u think started the Revival Era? I think its Tangled, since it was similar to Little Mermaid and Cinderella in terms of financial and critical successes. People always cobsdiered TPATF to be, but I disagree. At best, the film performed as good as how Oliver and Company and Ichabod and Mr Toad did in the past: positive reviews and moderate success, but not a box office hit.

    1. I agree…though I guess one can argue that PatF and Tangled were some sort of test in order to see what speaks to the audience more…classic Disney or Classic Disney which disguises as DreamWorks in the advertising and as Pixar in the animation style. Classic Disney lost (though mainly because ParF was simply not that good story-wise), though we now ended up in the CGI era.

      1. Yes, I will agree that PatF could have been a lot better story-wise. But there were a couple other big things that led to its box office disappointment:

        1: The title. Because it had “Princess” in it, it drove away a lot of moviegoers (someone could probably better explain that aspect better than I).
        2. The release date. B-A-D! Set a week or two before Avatar. Epic fail!!! Winnie the Pooh was even worse at this, being released the SAME DAY as Harry Potter. What were they thinking??!!

        I bet that if FROZEN had been the 2D animated movie that came out in 2009 instead of PatF, keeping the title and having a bit better marketing, just traditionally animated, it still would have been very successful and traditional animation at Disney would have been kept alive. But because of the box office failures of PatF and Winnie the Pooh, it’s most likely dead at Disney forever. Thanks a lot!!!

      2. I bet against it…because Frozen is horrible overrated and has basically the same problems as PatF, with the difference that it got a great song, better timing and can ride on the success of Tangled and Wreck-it-Ralph

      3. I don’t think there will be a specific CGI Era. Whether we like it or not, it is sticking around for the long haul.

        So you say that Frozen is not that good of a story, but it made over a billion dollars? So it does not always go down to story.

      4. Frozen has five things going for it which PatF didn’t have:
        1. It was not specifically marketed to girls the way ParF was
        2. It came after two strong Disney movies while PatF had to lure the audience back.
        3. It hit the theatres in a year full of really bad animated movies which PatF had to go against a lot of really strong ones.
        4. It has with “Let if go” a really strong song while the songs of PatF didn’t resonate with the majority of the audience at all.
        5. It’s was a great meme-opportunity.

      5. Anonymous, I honestly think Frozen is worse than PatF. I do not think if Frozen was under the same circimstances as PatF and in 2009, it would not have been more successful than PatF.I do not know why they would release PatF in December.

      6. Swanpride, I’m not a violent person. But if you continue to downgrade Frozen, I’m yanking your hair out!

      7. What’s this blasphemous slander I hear against Our Honorable Queen Elsa’s movie?

      8. Whoa now! Let’s not get violent! If you like Frozen, fine. If not, that’s fine too. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion too.

        I’m just saying that I believe because critics and mainstream audiences (not everyone, obviously) liked Frozen more than PatF, they would have gone to see it if Frozen came out in 2009 instead of PatF (and if it was placed on a different date). Why? I think they liked its story, characters, themes, songs, music, etc. more than they did PatF’s ones. They would have seen it, gone “Man, I like this movie”, praised it, told their friends about it, got more people to see it, and it still would have made a lot of money (okay, maybe not over $1 trillion). I’m not saying PatF is a bad movie. I enjoyed it, flaws and all. I’m just saying I do see why a lot of people (again, obviously, not everyone) like Frozen more than PatF, and coupled with the fact that PatF made big mistakes like the ones I mentioned above, PatF turned out to be a failure (box office-wise) while Frozen was not. Winnie-the-Pooh’s box office failure didn’t help 2D animation’s career at Disney much either. And because of that, traditional animation at Disney is gone and CGI is likely to be here for a long time (all unfortunate).

        @anii654: If you still disagree with me on this, that’s okay. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. We’ll never know for sure anyway. Oh, and here’s a link to Enchanted in case you wanted to watch it before Mouse’s review goes up: http://www.tubeplus.me/movie/172678/Enchanted/

      9. @Anonymous, I have no issue with agreeing to disagree. Frozen got such hype and excitement form fans before we even knew of the story and characters. It also did help that Tangled and WiR was a huge success that people actually liked. You would not know the full story and characters until after you watch the movie. But we will all discuss it when we get to Frozen.

        Thanks for the Enchanted link.

      10. I will piss everyone off and say that I think Frozen, Princess and the Frog, and Tangled all three are not as good as everyone makes them out to be. muahahaha. 8D

        Honestly there’s just something lacking in these movies as compared to the older princess movies. I just don’t feel the same confidence and energy and, frankly, across-the-board SKILL invested in them. They just seem lopsided to me…the animation is excellent, but the songwriting is amateurish. The comedy is gold, but the script is wooden. The emotions are there, but the moral/metaphor is about as subtle as a brick to the face. The plot tries to do too much and thereby stretches itself too thin.

        Mind you, I don’t actually dislike these movies, but I just can’t invest myself in them like I can invest myself in, say, Mulan or Beauty and the Beast. Maybe it’s the nostalgia glasses speaking, but the Renaissance Princess movies just seem more competent and confident than the CGI Princess movies. Disney seems like it’s afraid to be doing princess movies, and it shows.

  14. Ah yes, this is a flawed, but fun movie. Wilbur’s uninteresting, but I really like Lewis and Goob. In fact, Goob and the T-Rex are the best parts of the movie. I may be biased to the T-Rex what with my Paleontology background.

    Mouse, I live in the Rocky Mountains and I call it ‘jam’ too, so I’ll back you up.

    I actually really like Enchanted, I just really like self-aware affectionate parodies. That’s what I like about Enchanted, and a lot of other movies too (Emperor’s New Groove and the LEGO Movie are the first that come to my mind)

      1. Nope, Jell-O is Jell-O. I think I might call it jam because my great-grandma is Swiss, and she passed down the jam-making tradition to my grandma and my mom.

  15. Re: Time Travel:

    There are 4 ways time travel is treated in movies.

    1) The single, alterable timeline
    Examples: Back to the Future, Meet the Robinsons
    Here, you can go back and change things, and that causes changes to ripple up the timeline to your “present”, and you have to watch out to make sure you don’t kill your grandmother, because then you stop existing, but then you never killed her in the first place… This paradigm is stupid and can only lead to paradoxes. Avoid it.

    2) The single, alterable, but self-correcting timeline
    Example The Time Machine (the new one)
    Same as above, but if you *try* to kill your grandmother, the timeline will wriggle around like a moray eel to prevent you from doing so. This implies that the timeline is somehow conscious, which is equally stupid. Avoid it.

    3) The single, unalterable timeline
    Examples: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Twelve Monkeys
    You can go back to the past, but you can’t change anything, because it already happened. Anything that you go back and “change” has already occurred and is present in the memories of the people who were there before you even went back in time. This makes me uncomfortable since it implies that free will doesn’t exist. This one doesn’t have paradoxes, but I would still recommend avoiding it.

    4) Multiple timelines
    Example: Star Trek (the new one)
    When you go back to the past, you are shunted onto a parallel timeline. You can kill your grandmother and nothing happens, because you killed parallel grandma, not the grandma from your own timeline. Have a ball!

    TL:DR: Either watch Twelve Monkeys, or say “screw it, we’re in a parallel timeline, no weird vanishing from pictures or ‘time vorteces’ or what have you.”

    Hope this helps.

    1. How does Theory 3 imply that free will doesn’t exist? It’s the *past* that can’t be changed; it would only be fatalistic if the future was concrete. I think it accounts rather neatly for the problems created in Theory 1.

      1. The distinction between “past” and “future” is arbitrary. And at some point, the “past” is actually your “future.”

        Let’s say I’m walking down the road and I see myself fall out of a time machine and splatter all over the road. If we’re following #3, I know that I will have to splatter all over the road at some point in the future of my personal chronology – there is no way I can avoid it, because it already happened. Therefore free will does not exist.

        Let’s say I travel to the future, and I accidentally run over my “future” self with my time machine. I know that at some point in my future chronology, I will be run over by myself, and there is nothing I can do to avoid it, because it already happened.

        Let’s say I want to kill Hitler. Under this, there is no way that I can, because it never happened. I could travel to the right time and place, but something would inevitably go wrong, because I never killed Hitler.

      2. Okay, but knowing something with certainty and being unable to avoid it doesn’t negate all free will. I am going to die one day, I know this and there’s nothing I can do to prevent it. But anything I do between now and then is my choice.

      3. Yeah, if there’s one unalterable timeline that means that the past present and future all exist simultaneously so you can’t change any of them because they’ve all already happened at some part of the timeline

      4. Good point, well made – but I still don’t think that’s a good enough reason to “avoid” it as a storytelling tool. The key thing about that trope is that things aren’t what they seem. Prisoner of Azkaban, for instance, has the Golden Trio think they hear Buckbeak being executed, but then Harry and Hermione set him free. What made the chopping sound? The executioner hacking open a pumpkin in frustration.
        To use your example, Wero, of running yourself over: a writer could get around that by revealing that it wasn’t your future self at all, but someone or something that looked like you. That’s why I like that theory: it sets up the problem of something

      5. Damn phone – it sets up the problem of something appearing fated to happen, and the intrigue comes from trying to figure out how that fate was manipulated. In contrast to the multiple timeline theory, it’s quite a neat and clever method to work with.

      6. Yeah, I agree. Say you travelled back in time to before World War 2. The fact that you know with certainty what Hitler is going to do doesn’t mean he doesn’t have free will or excuse his actions. (exits pursued by Godwin).

    2. You forget variant 5…the “one right timeline”…meaning people act out of the actual timeline, but have to “set it right” so that everything happens as it should have (Voyagers! is the most straightforward example).
      It’s kind of my favourite…if the people who are messing with the time-line are standing out of the actual timeline, you don’t have to deal with those pesky paradoxes.

      1. That’s really just a version of #1 were the time travelers are cheating by pretending they can do #4, but no one else can.

    3. Gotta say that I love the Steins;Gate method of time travel (it is an anime, so be warned!) That series has two main methods of time travel: sending a text message into the past creating an alternate timeline, or sending someone’s memories of the future into their past self. Worth a watch if purely for the imagination behind that concept.

  16. Ok, Mouse, very good review! I really did like this movie when I saw it, it was both funny and touching but it isn’t the best Disney film.
    I liked your Back to the Future mention and you’re right with time travel, it’s hard as fuck.
    About Enchanted: I hate it, I think it’s more annoying than what it tries to parody (I’m not a fan of Disney’ live action films).
    Keep up the good work!

  17. You know, this one and Bolt are the only Disney movies I haven’t watched yet. Glancing at the result of the review…I guess I don’t have to hurry.
    I agree, I don’t like Merida in the Princess Line-Up either, I think the two companies should not mix. I disagree though that you can’t recognize which company does what. Because if you overlook the trappings and what the movies pretend to be…neither Pixar nor Disney can really let go of their style. Pixar tries to do a Princess movie and ends up making yet another Buddy comedy, this time with mother and daughter (because nearly all Pixar movies are some variant of the buddy comedy with unusual pairings – The Incredibles is one of the rare exceptions). Disney tries to do what apparently started out as a buddy comedy for Ralph and Felix but derails Felix and puts him in a romance instead – and Ralph a cute little girl to rescue. In the end, the companies are what they are and are good with what they can do. They should stick to it and experiment from time to time, but not trying to copy each other.

    1. Wreck it Ralph is not a buddy buddy between Felix and Ralph, but of Ralph and Vanellope. It is funny how most of the comments end up not being about Meet the Robinsons. Shows how forgettable it is.

      1. Originally, the focus was supposed to be more on Ralph and Felix…and while Ralph and Vanellope is a little bit buddy/buddy, it reminds me mostly of Baloo/Mowgli, Jiminy/Pinocchio, Timothy/Dumbo…it goes very heavily in a mentor/mentee relationship, even though Ralph is a very flawed mentor. The whole scene with King Candy explaining to Ralph “what is best” for Vanellope is actually very similar to the scene in which Baghera talks to Baloo about bringing Mowgli back to the humans, with the difference naturally that Baghera’s motivation is entirely different. It’s really like Disney trying to go for Pixar but then sliding back into what they do best…and honestly, it’s for the better of the movie. I don’t know why, but somehow that is what Disney can really, really good.

      2. It comes of as more of a buddy and buddy because Ralph is very flawed, and he is not seen as an authority member unlike Mowgli/Baloo, but I do understand why you said it is a mentor/mentee. I never knew that it was supposed to be more about Ralph/Felix.

  18. If only I could solve all of my problems by saying they never existed. ‘I will never date you.’ Problem solved, it never happened. ‘I will never say that.’ Problem solved, it never happened…

      1. Foodfight? I don’t remember Foodfight. It NEVER happened. Sadly this causes us to lose a very funny review but, on the plus side saves your sanity 🙂

  19. Great review, Mouse! I’ve just discovered this blog, so you’re going to have a bit more hits from the Philippines from now on.
    I never liked this film, but I never hate it. I’m neutral on most of the Lost Era I guess. Only like four of the movies here.
    Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one who dislikes Enchanted-I didn’t enjoy it when I caught it on cable, Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to your review.
    What episode of Doctor Who did you get the picture from, by the way? Haven’t watched the new series in a long time.

  20. Never saw this, but the review was funny! And you get points for the Doctor Who reference. I think the dragon things only showed up once, other times on the show where you change things that are Meant To Happen time goes nuts, or nothing happens at all?

  21. This movie . . . it’s got some very nice bits but I just can’t get behind it. I’m VERY picky about my time-travel stories and if there’s a blatant paradox-creator like that then I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, you are voted off the island.

    The T-rex is everybody’s favorite bit of dialogue from MtR. And for good reason!

  22. Dayum, there are over 100 comments on this post already after less than a day? You just keep on rising in Internet stardom, Mouse.

    For me, I just couldn’t get into Meet the Robinsons. One of the surest ways to turn me off a work is it being so painfully clear that the creators couldn’t decide on what kind of work they wanted to make and let the narrative spiral out of control as a result. I did like the scene where Lewis sees his mother, but thought everything else was a mess and that the bizarre frog-dancing sequences were a cringeworthy and blatant attempt to copy Dreamworks.

    As for Merida, I don’t mind her being a Disney Princess, although I did get annoyed when people apparently forgot that there do exist Disney princesses who can fight and have life goals other than finding a prince and a lot of them came before Merida to boot. But yes, I do agree that the princess movies should stay with Disney and the buddy movies with Pixar.

    1. Also, it’s interesting to me how you call this movie the first “DisneyPixar” fusion when I thought it was a clear “DisneyDreamworks” attempt and that Bolt was the first obvious DisneyPixar one.

    1. I think we pretty much established in these reviews that Walt Disney was an immortal, soul selling, voodoo loving worshiper of the Lord of Bahia, with laser beams coming out of his eyes.

  23. Hey Mouse, two things I want to bring up:
    1. Did you get to see my reply in the last post (my Dad liking Tangled more than Frozen thing)?
    2. I had the opportunity to find out that Confused Matthew (yeah I hate bringing him up too, sue me) is doing a review of Frozen as one of his new favorite movies! If you’re interested, I’ll let you know when it’s up.

      1. He liked it a lot the first time he saw it, and having read one of his Facebook updates, has said it’s probably one of his new favorite films given repeat viewings.

  24. Greetings from a long-time commenter, first time commenter! How that works out? It is I, That One Swedish Fan from Thatguywiththeglasses blog commentaries that used to comment on your posts… and then stopped around Mulan because from then on I had stopped seeing Disney movies, and didn’t start seeing them until Princess and the Frog, and then I thought “hey I should actually watch all these movies again so I can keep commenting on Unshaved Mouses blogs”, and then a bunch of wacky Nordic shenanigans happened and 281 people died and I temporarily became leader of a roving tribe of polar bears, and also I got a job and lost a job, and suffice to say there’s been some things preventing me from watching movies and commenting on the blog.
    But! Now I have seen the movies up until Bolt, all is gravy and I am back in the commenting swing. And I return to… this.
    Yeah I don’t have a lot of things to say about this. The 3D isn’t that great, a lot of flat textures an unimpressive environments when they aren’t zooming past city-scapes, but it’s also a nice movie about adoption that doesn’t fall into the trap of making the birth-parents unduly important or overwhelming. Can’t be denied that it has a lot of padding in the form of slapstick, that the family’s quick decision to adopt Wilbur seems so hasty, practically tailor made JUST to create artificial angst, and in retrospect not much leads anywhere. Also it has the cowlick kid. I do not like him or his story.
    But. It has wit, it was warmth, it has some funny gags. I guess that’s really what you can say about a lot of these movies- they’re not BAD, they’re downright decent most of the time. But they’re not the big, important, moving films that Pixar was dropping like bombs. They were third-place, and we expect more of Disney. The tale of when they reclaim that position, is yet to be told…

  25. Seeing (and you acknowledging) my favourite musician in this review made me so happy. And no, it’s not Tenacious D.

  26. This is the first Disney movie I’ve never caught that you’ve reviewed since, I think, Song of the South? As I said before, Chicken Little was a bit of a deal breaker for the Disney CGI movies, which I’ve since kind of seen as some sort of amalgamated abomination of Pixar movies and regular Disney movies. I’m starting to think I may have been wrong though, and am definitely hoping to catch Tangled and Frozen at some point. Not sure I’m sold on this one though. I nearly forgot it existed before it was brought up on this blog, so I think I can agree with you on its summing up the lost era; It sure is lost on me.

    Reading the history behind Chicken Little, I’m not surprised it was hyped so enormously. If it was so pivotal for this thing to do well, it would make sense to sell it so hard as the next big thing so folks would hungrily flock to the theatres. Sounds as if I’m not alone in its being better at drawing in a crowd than keeping it, considering its lopsided box office and critical success.

    I’m definitely with you on Merida’s non-status as a Disney Princess. I mean, if she qualifies, why shouldn’t Dot? (I guess that may be similar to asking why Mulan’s a Disney Princess, but apparently not Elyonwy, but eh). Also, Dixar made me giggle. Love that shipping name.

  27. …Wait, what do they call “jam” elsewhere? Did you mean as opposed to “jelly”? From what I understand, jam comes from the jelled-up pulp of the fruit, while jelly is purely jelled juice, is the terminology different outside of Canada? In any case, it can’t stick out any more than the use of the word “tyres” in Cars, would it? Also, yikes, did you just insult the Nine? Dangerous move, Mouse, wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of the Unknown Old Men, now would you? Cool that you’d actually reference it in this review. Commenting from the future where you already posted THD gives me a fun, dramatically ironic kind of standpoint.

    …Is Nicky Flippers from Hoodwinked in this movie? Or has someone been being a whore this time? In any case, your fumbling with base ball terms still cracks me up. And I saw that Frozen reference coming a mile off. And as for the frog joke, at least you made a better punch line than Halle Berry, be glad of that.

  28. I finally got around watching this movie…and I think it is bad. There is no discussion in it, it is just bad. I am sure Joyce is a great writer of books for children. After all, I love Rise of the Guardians and while Epic has it’s problems as a movie, I can see that the book it is based on might have this last little nudge it needed to be really good. But one thing I noticed about all adaptations is that the script writers always have trouble to figure out what they should put into the adaptation and what not. It always feels like there is something which should have gotten more room. But this…this is crammed. The “I am supposed to clean up my room but I just threw everything into the wardrobe” kind of crammed.

    In addition, it is utterly predictable. It feels like every time travel cliché thrown together and then sprinkled with a bit of happy dust. I know, I am a despicable human being, but I somehow didn’t want this movie end with an adoption. I wanted a bit reality. I wanted the realization that this child will never get parents, but somehow managed to create a family on his own when he was an adult.

    There are some creative designs, but the animation overall is kind of empty (there is no better way to describe it). And it just can’t decide on a tone. It goes from very serious to utterly juvenile in a second.

    It might also be the most illogical time-travel story I have ever seen.

  29. I wholeheartedly agree about two things: 1) Goob is definitely one of the most adorable characters I have ever seen! and 2) I always laugh at the T-Rex’s tiny arms not being able to reach Lewis in the corner. The ending montage scene of Lewis getting adopted set to “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas makes me absoloutly bawl every time I watch it, without fail. The rest of the movie is pretty mediocre, but I definitely have a soft spot for it because it came out when I was just the right age to love it. Plus it has a Jonas Brothers song in the credits. So there’s also that.

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